On Wednesday, the House Intelligence Committee held its first public hearing concerning President Trump’s impeachment process. The hearing came after weeks of Democrats leading a behind-the-scenes impeachment process.
Wednesday’s hearing including the acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent testified before.
Ambassador Taylor has been described as a “star” witness and House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff previously called him to testify behind closed doors to begin the process.
During an exchange with Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell, Taylor agreed the call was “crazy” and “wrong,” CBS News reports.
Check it out:
Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell asked Taylor whether he would agree that withholding aid to Ukraine was not just “crazy,” as Taylor had testified, but also “wrong.” After a pause, Taylor replied: “Yes.”
“To withhold assistance, security to a country fighting Russia for no good policy reason, no good substantive reason, that is wrong,” Taylor said.
Swalwell also asked Kent and Taylor if they were “Never Trumpers,” as Mr. Trump has alleged. Both denied that they opposed the president.
Taylor’s public testimony, however, had moments that seemed to blow a hole in the Democratic narrative as well. He surprisingly claimed the Ukrainian President did not feel pressured in the call and was happy with it.
Taylor described that he had a meeting with Zelensky “the very next day” after the call and “he said ‘the call was fine. I was happy with the call.’”
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 13, 2019
A similar interaction happened between Taylor and Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe.
Ratcliffe challenged either key witness to name a single impeachable offense Trump committed.
Neither could, BizPac Review reports:
The Texas Republican grilled Schiff’s star witness in a rapid-fire questioning of the facts and left him as well as George Kent, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, speechless when he pressed them to name the impeachable offense in the president’s actions on the phone call.
Ratcliffe, a former US Attorney from Texas, drove home the point that the Ukrainians have repeatedly stated they were not aware of any hold on military aid from the US government, which Democrats allege Trump used as leverage in asking Zelensky to launch an investigation into the business dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.
“So in this impeachment hearing today where we impeach presidents for treason or bribery or other high crimes, where is the impeachable offense in that call?” Ratcliffe asked Taylor and Kent. “Are either of you here today to assert there was an impeachable offense in that call?”
“Shout it out, anyone?” the congressman said as neither of the witnesses replied.
According to the report, Ratcliffe was limited to 22 seconds to speak after a brief exchange with the witnesses. He made the most of his time by challenging Democrats.
“I think everyone knows that House Democrats have made up their minds to impeach one president. The question that we just learned is whether or not they are prepared to impeach two,” Ratcliffe said.
“Because, to be clear, if House Democrats President Trump for a quid pro quo involving military aid, they have to call President Zelensky a liar. If they impeach him for abusing his power, or pressuring or making threats or demands, they have to call President Zelensky a liar to do it,” he added.
Here’s another exchange between Republican Congressman Mike Turner and Ambassador Taylor where the congressman described hearsay as inadmissible evidence in a courtroom:
“We are not in a court… and if we were, the 6th Amendment would apply and so would rules on hearsay and opinion and most of your two testimonies would not be admissible whatsoever.” @RepMikeTurner pic.twitter.com/Qejfwn4FNM
— GOP (@GOP) November 13, 2019